Reggae // Dub // Ska // live percussion // art projections

This story begins the year 2003, in the city of Southampton, UK. After unknowingly saying "yes" to perform at an 'open record decks' event in Southampton at the age of 19, Tom 'Uplifter' Earwaker brought along some percussion, a small box of Reggae, Dub & Ska LP's and a pair of Walkman headphones. That night ignited a spark which not only led to The Uplifter subsequently later becoming a well respected part of the UK Reggae & Dub scene for over a decade - it also had a profound effect on the path in which Tom's life would take from then on... With countless live shows, vinyl releases and tours taking him around the globe from New York to Croatia to New Zealand and many a road in between...

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  • Just as I was about to upload this video earlier this week I thought I'd quickly check to see what Nelly Stharre is up to these days... I shouted at my laptop screen as I read that her and her partner both died in a house fire at their home in the hills of Dominica last year... I had to walk away from my computer and process it for a few days. Nelly was a proper sweetheart, a really lovely, warm soul. Here is Nelly and I performing at One Love Festival... In memory of a beautiful human being ❤️ #nellystharre #nellystar #reggae #dub #onelovefestival #theuplifter #uplifter #livepercussion #festival #reggaefestival
    Just as I was about to upload this video earlier this week I thought I'd quickly check to see what Nelly Stharre is up to these days... I shouted at my laptop screen as I read that her and her partner both died in a house fire at their home in the hills of Dominica last year... I had to walk away from my computer and process it for a few days. Nelly was a proper sweetheart, a really lovely, warm soul. Here is Nelly and I performing at One Love Festival... In memory of a beautiful human being ❤️ #nellystharre #nellystar #reggae #dub #onelovefestival #theuplifter #uplifter #livepercussion #festival #reggaefestival
  • Why use 'proper instruments' when a saucepan and a handful of spoons will do :D #uplifter #percussion #serres #greece #theuplifteruk #stomp #DIYpercussion
    Why use 'proper instruments' when a saucepan and a handful of spoons will do :D #uplifter #percussion #serres #greece #theuplifteruk #stomp #DIYpercussion
  • Just found a laminated poster up in the loft from the days when I used to depend on street busking to make a living... Upgrade from economy beans to Heinz baked beans haha :D #uplifter #busking #streetbusking
    Just found a laminated poster up in the loft from the days when I used to depend on street busking to make a living... Upgrade from economy beans to Heinz baked beans haha :D #uplifter #busking #streetbusking
  • It is very dangerous to leave me unsupervised in a record shop 😃 #brixton #vinyl #recordshop #reggae #dub #ska #roots #turntable #dj #theuplifter #uplifter
    It is very dangerous to leave me unsupervised in a record shop 😃 #brixton #vinyl #recordshop #reggae #dub #ska #roots #turntable #dj #theuplifter #uplifter
  • Draco the bearded dragon's opinion on new tunes for @theuplifteruk album ;) #theuplifteruk #beardeddragon #lizard #mypetcancommunicate #pets #reggae #dub #ska #uplifter #theuplifter
    Draco the bearded dragon's opinion on new tunes for @theuplifteruk album ;) #theuplifteruk #beardeddragon #lizard #mypetcancommunicate #pets #reggae #dub #ska #uplifter #theuplifter
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A well needed dance and a skate... 



It's been perhaps 10 months or so since I've attended a proper sound system session. Friday's and Saturday's are normally booked for shows but last weekend we had a gig booking only on the Friday for a change, which can only mean one thing - Time to track down a sound system to attend as a punter rather than performer!

Who should be running a session that night... None other than a firm favourite of mine, Jah Shaka! This was a no-brainer, so off I set from Southampton to Tottenham, London to find the session. 3.5 hours later of trains, night buses and skateboarding though the city I find my good friend Johnny and we dance full-power until 6am. 

I realised I'd left my ear plugs in my shirt pocket from the gig on Friday and expected the night would involve a lot of me sticking my fingers in my ears but the session was lovely. The sound wasn't too loud and my ears didn't ring at all the next day. I've attended some sound system sessions such as King Earthquake (clue is in the name), Iration Steppers, Aba Shanti etc when my ears were well and truly pummelled even after wearing good quality ear protection. I see people walking around these sessions with no ear protection and think, 'how are they doing that?!'. I'm all for hearing the music clearly but I also like my ears to work - Good quality ear plugs that filter the uber top end frequencies seem to do the trick. 

Jah Shaka ran a nice session and the crowd were really respectful and on good form. The University Of Dub sessions at the Scala in Kings Cross seem to be full of wasted students drinking the Red Stripe dry at the bar along with whatever else they consume on the nights. The Jah Shaka crowd are appreciative of each tune and dance mindfully. No people bumping into you, all over the place. People really dance and let go but in a way that respects the music and the people around them. Shaka played a tune I'm really fond of by Jazbo/Rico Rodriguez, and it was at that point where 'I lost the plot' haha. The power of music took me off on hours of dancing that would put any session down the gym to the test ;)

The next day my good friend and Johnny hung out at his place in Brixton, played music and sat back in the sun and rested after a good night's dance.

...And I did my usual ritual of skating through Brixton weaving in and out of buses...


 

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